"When I let go of the ball... TP told me, he told me "Cash Money Records"... I thought it was a green shot like in 2K."— Leo S (@Y0Leo) March 1, 2022
You may be familiar with the hip hop record label Ca$h Money Records which is owned by Bryan “Birdman” Williams, but it may now forever be known as the property of KAT-man. The Minnesota Timberwolves center waited in the brush for just the right time to snipe the Cleveland Cavaliers out of a come-from-behind victory.
This game was quite the back-and-forth affair from beginning to end. Despite playing without their 1st (Darius Garland), 2nd (Ricky Rubio), 3rd (Collin Sexton), or 4th (Rajon Rondo) string point guards, the Brandon Goodwin (?) Cavs team were still game. They had previously throttled the Wolves in a fashion that felt a little familiar to the hammering Minnesota received just a few days ago against the 76ers, and this game appeared to begin no differently. Cleveland still had their quadruple towers of Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, Lauri Markkanen, and Kevin Love who took a strangle hold of the paint on both ends of the court. They easily built up a 26-12 lead in the 1st quarter alone. Luckily for the Wolves, the bench came to the rescue as Taurean Prince had himself a mini-revenge game, Big Mac Jaden McDaniels caught fire from perimeter, and Little Mac Jordan McLaughlin sliced and diced the Cleveland lead back down to Earth.
Then we got an Anthony Edwards explosion that we have missed oh so much.
Anthony Edwards explosive drive + tough finish pic.twitter.com/hvjWA9sr2p— Timberwolves Clips (@WolvesClips) March 1, 2022
He would score 9 straight points and help put the Wolves get up as much as 8-points before the half was over. That momentum bled into the 3rd quarter, where the Wolves really took off. Karl-Anthony Towns mentioned in the post game presser that Coach Finch lit a fire underneath the 1st unit which helped them put the rocket in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, as they marched out to a huge 23-point lead. They looked like a blend of the early season Wolves with their patented “fly around with purpose” defense, combined with the 2022 Wolves scorching offense. A deadly combination. Oh, and we also got one of the dopest Ant dunks that we’ve seen in a long time, which is really saying something.
ANTHONY EDWARDS SWITCHED HANDS MID-AIR pic.twitter.com/SW85TEssqV— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 1, 2022
The game would still continue to teeter though. Just as it looked like the Wolves could pack it in early and prepare for a difficult matchup tomorrow, the Cavs didn’t give up. Kevin Love hit a flurry of triples. The bench unit lost all of the energy and intensity they had played with in the 1st half and completely gave up the lead. The starters would slowly reenter the game to try and stem the Cavs momentum, but things would eventually come to a head with just 37.1 seconds remaining. After a broken floor situation from a jump ball, Cedi Osman would toss up a quick three pointer that would tie the game 122-122. The last time the game was tied was with 4:46 left in the 2nd quarter.
Enter: CEO of Ca$h Money Records.
That shot ultimately proved to be the difference as the Cavs would never score again. The game sealing moment would be during a wild loose ball sequence where the refs would award Cleveland the ball with 4.6 seconds left. However, Coach Finch, ever the resourceful strategist, would use his lone challenge which he had intentionally saved till the end, to overturn the obviously wrong call (The Cavaliers were whistled for just 17 fouls compared to the Wolves 31, a 34-19 free throw advantage, including 2 technical fouls against the Wolves).
It was a total team effort W, as 6 players scored in double figures while the other 4 all had notable contributions. The Wolves now sit just 1.5 wins away from hitting their Vegas preseason over/under total wins line.
KAT: "You can go down the list and say everyone had a moment that helped us win the game."— Leo S (@Y0Leo) March 1, 2022
"If you're a true savant of basketball, you'll see how well we all played winning basketball tonight."
The Timberwolves have the NBA’s best offense in 2022. pic.twitter.com/YwzJHmwgay— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 1, 2022
Omega - Karl-Anthony Towns
It’s impossible to leave KAT out of this shoutout section. Obviously he hit the biggest shot of the night, but he had his hands full dealing with the length & girth (SMUT) of the Cleveland frontcourt. He handled it well and never lost his composure, calmly posting 17 points (53.8 FG%) 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 stocks, and a new record label.
already knew it was good before he touched the ball pic.twitter.com/araaWn3qsg— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 1, 2022
Delta - Jaden McDaniels
Big Mac was on fire tonight, draining a career-high 5 treys in just 7 attempts. Foul trouble plagued him as usual, but he did all his damage quickly (18 mins) and efficiently. He was perhaps the biggest reason the Wolves were able to hang onto the rope in the 1st half. Jaden finished the night with 17 points (66.7 FG%), 3 rebounds, and super slick dime.
Beta - D’Angelo Russell
The newly turned 26-year-old D’Lo continues to score the ball at an incredible rate. He’s really been in the zone and continues to bring an invaluable sense of calm when he’s on the floor. His 25 point (4/8 from 3), 4 rebounds, 3 assist, and 2 stock stat line was good, but perhaps more importantly is his willingness to give up the ball when it mattered most. KAT mentioned it multiple times post game that the final play was actually drawn up for Russell, but D’Lo trusted KAT to take the final shot.
smooth, DLo.— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 1, 2022
Alpha - Patrick Beverley
Though Pat Bev may not have had the best box score numbers tonight (11 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks), his imprint on the game was undeniable. He was flying around the court as usual, but also had to wrestle with the 7 foot Lauri Markkanen in the paint all night. Despite getting into a bit of foul trouble, he still battled and made huge plays on both ends of the court when it mattered. It was delightful to listen to Cavs color commentator Austin Carr snort in disbelief every time Pat hit a triple, continuously exclaiming, “Patrick Beverley is not a good outside shooter! You just have to live with those.” Oh live with them the Timberwolves did, Mr. Carr.
Canis Hoopus Comment of the Night
We all know the Wolves aren’t
the best any good on the end of back-to-backs. That said, how would you feel if I told you we had to take on a team with TWO All-Star starters, who just blew a league-worst 19-point 4th quarter lead in their last game? That’s right, superstar Andrew Wiggins’ Golden State Warriors come to town tomorrow, Tuesday 3/1 @ 7:00pm CT, and look to seek revenge after their embarrassing loss on Sunday night. Buckle up.